Wales and Berwick Act 1746[1]
Act of Parliament
Long titleAn Act to enforce the Execution of an Act of this Session of Parliament, for granting to His Majesty several Rates and Duties upon Houses, Windows, or Lights.[2]
Citation20 Geo. 2. c. 42
Royal assent17 June 1747
Repealed1 January 1979
Other legislation
Amended by
Repealed by
Status: Repealed

The Wales and Berwick Act 1746 (20 Geo. 2. c. 42) was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain that created a statutory definition of England as including England, Wales and Berwick-upon-Tweed.

The walled garrison town of Berwick changed hands numerous times before the crowns of England and Scotland were united in 1603.


The Act created a statutory definition of England as including England, Wales and Berwick-upon-Tweed. This definition applied to all Acts passed before and after the Act's coming into force, unless a given Act provided an alternative definition. According to Blackstone, the Act "perhaps superfluously" made explicit what was previously implicit.[3]

The town of Berwick was variously under the control of the English and Scottish crowns before the crowns were united in 1603.[4]

Berwick had historically been a royal burgh in Scotland before the two kingdoms merged to form the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The Act confirmed that English and not Scottish law would apply to Berwick.

Of the original Act's four sections, only section 3 related to Wales and Berwick; sections 1 and 2 regulated collection of window tax and section 4 permitted Quaker officials to replace the prescribed oath of fidelity with a declaration, owing to their objection to oath-taking. The short title 'Wales and Berwick Act 1746' was introduced after the other sections had been repealed; today it is authorised by the Short Titles Act 1896.


The Act was repealed with regard to Wales by the Welsh Language Act 1967, and in its entirety by the Interpretation Act 1978.[5]

The Local Government Act 1972, which came into force on 1 April 1974, explicitly stated that in future legislation 'England' would consist of the 46 metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties established by the Act (which included Berwick) and that 'Wales' would consist of the eight Welsh counties established by the Act.[6] This also had the effect of ending debate on whether Monmouthshire was a part of Wales, or of England. The administration of law had been attached to one of the English law circuits, Oxford, and the Local Government Act 1933 had listed both Monmouthshire and the county borough of Newport as parts of England. The Interpretation Act 1978 restated the provisions of the 1972 Act with respect to legislation passed after 1 April 1974 and noted explicitly that in legislation enacted before then England included Berwick and Monmouthshire; and also that in legislation prior to 1967 it still included Wales.[7]

See also


  1. ^ The citation of this Act by this short title was authorised by the Short Titles Act 1896, section 1 and the first schedule. Due to the repeal of those provisions it is now authorised by section 19(2) of the Interpretation Act 1978.
  2. ^ The Statutes: Revised Edition, 1871, vol 2, p 513.
  3. ^ Blackstone, William; Stewart, James (1839). The rights of persons, according to the text of Blackstone: incorporating the alterations down to the present time. Edmund Spettigue. p. 92. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  4. ^ McKivigan, John R. (5 July 2018). Forgotten Firebrand: James Redpath and the Making of Nineteenth-Century America. Cornell University Press. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-5017-3226-3.
  5. ^ Interpretation Act 1978, Schedule 3
  6. ^ Interpretation Act 1978, Section 5 and Schedule 1
  7. ^ Interpretation Act 1978, Schedule 2, paragraph 5(a)